A new EC-funded project to define the future of interoperable broadband radio applications, services, networks and devices for use by public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) agencies is set to kick off next month (1 May 2016).
The aim is to find a common roadmap for the future evolution of EU PPDR radio communications from the narrowband two-way radio standards commonly used by PPDR organisations in Europe today.
On 27 April 2016, a contract was signed between the European Commission and the BROADMAP project consortium. The BROADMAP project, coordinated by Public Safety Communications Europe (PSCE) and with a team of 15 PPDR end user organisations, will work together to define the broadband interoperability requirements.
The PPDR end users from 15 European countries will hold a series of workshops around Europe between June and August to consult with an even broader community of end user stakeholders.
The aim is to make available a set of specifications and transition road-mapping of future broadband PPDR radio communication in the EU in 2017. The requirements, specifications, solutions and roadmaps will lead towards new interoperable broadband capabilities, which are expected to be deployed within eight to 10 years.
The BROADMAP project will take the first steps in this transition to interoperable next generation broadband radio communication systems for public safety. The result should enhance radio interoperability across borders and improve PPDR services to European citizens.
BROADMAP will collect and validate the requirements set out by PPDR organisations with the aim of establishing a core set of specifications and a roadmap for procurement.
The BROADMAP partnership comprises: 15 potential buyers/end users representing EU member states and associated countries; eight of which represent the ministry with the country responsible for public safety and seven represent other PPDR end user organisations and public safety network operators.
48 additional PPDR organisations have already signed letters of support for the BROADMAP project, expanding geo-political coverage within seven additional EU and associated countries, plus support from stakeholders in the USA. The BROADMAP workshops are expected to further expand these numbers.
The BROADMAP proposal formation was initiated in 2014 at the request of PSCE’s User Committee members. It has taken 16 months to gather together the strongest team of end users, a delicately balanced strategy, and the necessary contractual arrangements to start the project.
PSCE argues that the outcomes of BROADMAP are essential to support the future procurement of necessary R&D and innovative products needed to fulfil the validated requirements for broadband interoperable networks for PPDR and critical communications.
The next PSCE conference will be held in Brussels on 18-19 May 2016, where the BROADMAP project will be introduced to delegates for the first time. There, the debate around the improvement needed to communication systems and processes to support public safety and disaster recovery. Topics will include:
• Future communication networks
• Dynamic information sharing
• Handling emergency
• How Copernicus and Galileo services support crisis management.
David Lund, president of PSCE and co-ordinator of BROADMAP, said: ‘It’s been a lengthy process but the collective enthusiasm of the partnership is unprecedented. We have a truly motivated and influential team.’
Manfred Blaha, chair of PSCE User Committee, commented: ‘BROADMAP is a milestone on the broad way for PPDR organisations to get a broadband network. It is not only to follow technological trends for a new gadget. It is about giving first responders some data-rich communications tools for their life-saving duty. It is about service our citizens as best as possible.’
‘The PPDR operational way of working is in transition throughout Europe,’ added Heikki Riippa of The Police Board, Finland. ‘High speed wireless connectivity is mandatory to address the pressure from a changing society – the BROADMAP partnership is key to addressing this evolution.’
The BROADMAP partnership was created as an to answer to the EU’s Horizon 2020 DRS-18 call for proposals - Communication technologies and interoperability topic 1: interoperable next generation of broadband radio communication system for public safety and security. PSCE completed the co-ordination and submission of its BROADMAP proposal to Horizon 2020 on 26 August 2015.
PSCE is a non-profit organisation, providing a platform for collaborative work between users, industry and research organisations in order to exchange ideas, best practice and develop a roadmap for future public safety communications.
Photo courtesy of Airbus Defence & Space